Andrea Palladio Essay

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The Renaissance produced a wealth of great skill and craftsmanship. Describe in detail the work of one of its great artists or architects.

Andrea Palladio (1508-80) was one of the most influential figures of Renaissance architecture, who worked in Vicenza in northern Italy as well as in Venice and the surrounding Veneto.

Born in Padua, Palladio trained as a stonemason moving to Vicenza in 1524 to continue his training. Giangiorgio Trissino (1478-1550), his patron, introduced him to classical and humanist studies and took him on his first trip to Rome – where he later spent two years studying. His architectural development was deeply influenced by this direct study of Roman antiquity.

Trissino’s patronage gave Palladio
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Venetian rule and the corresponding extended period of peace and stable government encouraged economic success in Vicenza and the Veneto and an energetic period of architectural regeneration - existing tower houses and small buildings were superseded by larger houses and palaces which showed off the prosperity of the city’s land-owning nobility. The countryside landscape was permanently altered and a new style of country home – the villa – was built.

Palladio created a new form for these villas by reinventing the Veneto tradition of rural architecture – a central house with a portico or loggia across part of the façade, a horizontal room plan and two symmetrical end towers – using his newly obtained classical insights.

Examples include the Villa Barbaro at Maser (begun c. 1550) which has a middle building – resembling a temple - between extended arms. The interior plan is characteristically Palladian with a Greek cross plan using a central space with smaller rooms slotted into the corners. The interiors are simple but fresco paintings – mostly by Paolo Veronese (1528-88) replicate architectural elements and include trompe l’oeil open doors, views to the outside and people.

Another notable example, the Villa Capra (or Rotonda) (completed after Palladio’s death in 1591) just outside Vicenza, is a square building with a domed

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